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LITE RARY   LIFE                        217

country who come for such official protection. ... It is
these students who go in and out of the yamen to interfere
with the administration. It is these students who rely on
such power and bully the country people. It is these students
who make friends with the yamenites or become yamenites
themselves. It is these students who, whenever the admini-
stration does not follow their wish, bind themselves together
in a row. It is these students who know the secrets of the
officialdom and trade with them. . . . With the slightest
rebuff, they cry out, "You are killing the scholars. You are
burying Confucianists." . . , The greatest trouble of a
country is made when strangers come together and form a
party. These students come from all parts of the land, some
from a distance of several hundred U9 others from a distance
often thousand IL They do not know each other's names or
dialects. But once they have passed the examinations . . .
they form a solid, unbreakable block. The mails are full of
their letters of recommendation, and officialdom is full of
their private requests. . . .

Ku wrote in an age when this evil had been especially
aggravated, but the parasitic nature of these B.A.s and M.A.S,
or educated loafers, is essentially unchanged down to this day,
when they have been redubbed "college graduates."

Not all of them, of course, are such blackguards. There are in
every town and village good, retiring, thrifty and contented
scholars, who belong to the oppressed rather than the oppress-
ing class, because they choose to remain poor. Occasionally
there are some sound scholars in a town who purposely avoid
the examinations and bury themselves in their own learning.
It is often from these people or from the more talented and
successful candidates that scholarly works are to be expected.

After all, the old scholar is, on the whole, a sounder product
than the modern college graduate. His knowledge of world
geography is less reliable, but his training in character and
ordinary manners is more thorough. Both the old and modern
educational systems suffer from the foolish belief that you can
weigh a man's knowledge by a series of examinations, which
must by necessity be of a mechanical nature, and which must